August 20th (20th.Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Is 56:1, 6-7; Rom 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28.
STORY: Many years ago in Illinois, a young man with six months formal schooling to his credit ran for an office in the legislature. As might have been expected, he was beaten. Next, he entered business but failed in that too, and spent the next seventeen years paying the debts of his worthless partner. He fell in love with a charming lady, they became engaged – and she got sick and died, causing her lover a mini-nervous breakdown. He ran for Congress and was defeated. He then tried to obtain an appointment to the U.S. Land Office but didn’t succeed. He became a candidate for the Vice-Presidency and lost. Two years later he was defeated in a race for the Senate. Then he ran for President and finally was elected. That man was Abraham Lincoln. “Never give up… Persist! Your Miracle is on the way!”
Today's Gospel episode also presents a Canaanite woman who persisted in her prayer and obtained from the Kingdom of God even more that she had hoped/prayed for. She had come to Jesus asking for one miracle, and she got two: her daughter was exorcised of her demonic possession and received a new life, and the mother herself, through her experience with Christ, found a new life as well.
The greatness of this woman's Faith consists in: a) her willingness to cross the barrier of racism; b) her refusal to be put off or ignored because of her position in life, and c) her humility in admitting that she did not deserve the Master’s attention and time.
Life message: We need to persist in prayer with trustful confidence. Although the essential parts of prayer are adoration and thanksgiving, the prayer of petition, like that of contrition, plays a big part in most people’s daily life. We cannot provide, by our unaided selves, for our spiritual and temporal needs. Christ himself has told us to ask him for these needs: "Ask and you shall receive." Asking with fervor and perseverance proves that we have the "great Faith” we need to be able to receive all that Christ wants to grant us in response to our requests. We must realize and remember that we do not always get exactly what we ask for, but rather what God knows we need, what He wants for us, and what is actually best for us. What we need most is to receive the peace and security that come from being in harmony with God's will for us.
Conclusion: As Christians, we also know that our particular requests may not always be for our good, or for the final good of the person for whom we are praying. In that case, the good God will not grant what would be to our, or their, eternal harm. But if the prayer is sincere and persevering, we will always get an answer – one which is better than what we asked for. Hence, let us trust that every time we pray for something, the answer is already on its way, even before we have asked God for it. We just need to trust God’s timetable and infinite wisdom that He will answer us according to His will and purpose. Therefore, "Ask and you shall receive", says the Lord. In short, “Never give up…Persist! Your Miracle is on the way!”